Wednesday 17 January 2018

Handling of exemptions to property tax was 'a mess', admits minister

Fiach Kelly

A LABOUR minister has admitted the Government made "a mess" of how the property tax exemptions were handled – and took a sideswipe at Environment Minister Phil Hogan who is blamed for increasing tensions in the Coalition.

Labour sources also blamed a plan by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to take personal charge of pushing through reforms in Joan Burton's Department of Social Protection, as well as the Department of Health, for "getting everyone's backs up" recently.

And Labour junior minister Sean Sherlock took a sideswipe at Mr Hogan, who is accused of hiding behind Labour ministers after it was announced large numbers of houses on ghost estates are eligible for the property tax.

Mr Sherlock told RTE's 'The Week in Politics' the line minister – in this case Mr Hogan – must be "out in front about it" and said a "mess has been made about how this has been communicated".

The number of ghost estate exemptions for the property tax was substantially down on those for the €100 household charge. While 43,000 households were exempted from the household charge, only 5,100 have been exempted from the property tax.

This was defended by Labour ministers Pat Rabbitte and Jan O Sullivan because Mr Hogan was in Brussels towards the end of last week, which angered the junior coalition partner.

Irish Independent

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